Mum left paralysed after using her friend's makeup brush

Mum left paralysed after using her friend's makeup brush

Jo Gilchrist never expected a virulent strain of a common bacteria to enter her body, leaving her paralysed... all through the simple act of using her friend's makeup brush. Find out what happened in this article.

Girls love borrowing their besties’ things — from shoes and clothes, to handbags and makeup.

The borrowing and sharing doesn’t stop when you become a mum either.  But when you read this Australian mum’s story, you will definitely think twice about borrowing personal items such as makeup brushes, even if they belong to your best friend.

expired makeup

A makeup brush infection

27-year-old mum Jo Gilchrist from Warwick, an Australian country town, thought nothing of borrowing her best friend’s makeup brush earlier this year. The mum of a two-year-old son Tommy never thought this simple act would have such devastating consequences on her health and life.

Gilchrist told Daily Mail Australia that “It started as a little ache in my back and I thought it was my bad posture, but it kept getting worse and worse”. By Valentine’s Day, she was in agonising pain and was admitted to hospital. Her body started to go numb and she was rapidly losing feeling in her legs.

According to news reports, it took doctors some time to find out what was wrong, but they eventually discovered that a staph infection — MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) to be precise — had entered the young mum’s body and was attacking her spine.

The only way the infection could have entered her system was via her friend’s makeup brush, through a pimple on Gilchrist’s face.

“The only thing we can put it down to is the makeup brush,” said Gilchrist. “My friend did have a staph infection on her face and I was using her brush just before. I had no idea that could even happen, I used to share with my friends all the time.”

The doctors reportedly told Gilchrist that “the numbness” would go all the way up my arms and into my chest and when that happened I’d have to be put in an induced coma and learn to breathe again”.

It’s quite normal for a portion of healthy people to have harmless staphylococcus bacteria living on their skin, according to Medical Daily.

However, a tiny proportion of the population — such as Gilchrist’s friend — may carry an antibiotic-resistant version of this bacteria. In Gilchrist’s case, medical experts believe her immune system was not able to fight off the infection, and the bacteria rapidly attacked her spine.

makeup brush infection

This young mum got a makeup brush infection that left her unable to move

A mum’s fighting spirit

Following surgery, doctors told the young mum that she would never walk again. But this fighter is determined not to let the infection defeat her: “I’m fighting this with all I’ve got and I’m starting to learn to walk again. Two weeks ago they said I might be able to walk for an hour or two a day – like grocery shopping, washing up and hanging the washing out.”

This optimistic mum even manages to see a positive side to what happened to her, saying “‘I was so lucky it went to my spine… if it went to my brain I would have died and if it went to my limbs they would have been amputated.”

The latest news is that Gilchrist has started walking again, confirming what we all know — that mothers have the strongest, most determined fighting spirit in the world!

We wish this brave young mum all the very best.

Mums, there is a very important take-home message from this article — never share items such as make-up brushes, towels and other personal grooming items.

While Staph bacteria are usually harmless, sometimes they can cause serious illness as you now know. An infection such as MSRA can enter your body via sores or other forms of broken skin, such as pimples or boils.

*Featured image from Help for Jo Gilchrist’s Facebook page.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this article — do share them with us by leaving a comment below. 

Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!

app info
get app banner